Dr. Spiegel said, “Depression impairs a person’s ability to analyze stress and react rationally.” “They end up on a vicious circle with limited ability to break out of a negative mental state.”
Potentially making matters worse, unreasonable anxiety and depression often coexist, leaving people vulnerable to physical ailments and unable to sustain and adapt to necessary therapy.
a Study of 1,204 Elderly Korean Men and Women Initially assessment for depression and anxiety found that after two years, these emotional disorders increased their risk of physical disorders and disability. Anxiety alone was linked to heart disease, depression alone was linked to asthma, and the two together were linked to vision problems, persistent cough, asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and gastrointestinal problems.
Treatment can combat the emotional toll
Although persistent anxiety and depression are highly treatable with medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, and talk therapy, without treatment these conditions tend to get worse. According to Dr. John Fraunfelter, treatment for any condition works best when doctors “understand the pressures of patients that affect their behavior and result in clinical harm.”
Dr. Fraunfelter is an internist and chief medical officer of a start-up called Xavian. The organization uses artificial intelligence to identify not only medical factors but also psychological, social and behavioral factors that can affect the effectiveness of treatment on patients’ health. It aims to promote a more holistic approach to treatment that jointly addresses the whole patient, body and mind.
The analysis used by Jvion, a Hindi word meaning life-giving, can alert a doctor when underlying depression may hinder the effectiveness of a treatment prescribed for another condition. For example, patients being treated for diabetes who are feeling depressed may fail to improve because they take their prescribed medication only sporadically and don’t follow a proper diet, Dr. Fraunfelter said.
“We often talk about depression as a complication of chronic illness,” Dr. Fraunfelter wrote in medpages today in july. “But what we don’t talk about enough is how depression can lead to chronic illness. Patients with depression may not have the motivation to exercise regularly or cook healthy meals. It’s also hard to get enough sleep.”